Kalpetta: A rare variety of pepper, which was thought to have become extinct, was found from Manathavady. The pepper variety is known as ‘Kuthiravaali’ and is noted for its high immunity and productivity. One plant of ‘Kuthiravaali’ pepper was found at Edamunda Kurichiya Tharavadu and four plants were found at Valadu Edathana Tharavadu.
The rare pepper species was found in the field survey conducted by botanist K. M. Biju as part of a one-year-long project to preserve indigenous pepper varieties, headed by Wayanad Social Service Society. Biju’s research was related to Vrikshayurveda (Ayurveda for plants). Biju said that indigenous pepper varieties contain olio ricino and piperine in high amount, and these are found in highest quantity in ‘Kuthiravaali’ pepper which makes it a special one.
Earlier, more than 100 indigenous pepper varieties were found in the district, but many of them face threat nowadays. These pepper species are featured with long life, resistance to climate change and high immunity. The researchers expect that new varieties can be developed by preserving the gene pool of the indigenous pepper varieties.
There are many indigenous pepper varieties protected in Edathana Tharavadu. Some other rare species were found in the fields and orchards close to the forest but are not identified yet. Chanthu, the head of the family of Edathana Tharavadu, said that though the pepper plant has been there for long, they didn’t know its name. The pepper plant tends to grow better on Indian coral tree (Murikku in native language). But the tree has become rare now, which in turn affected the pepper variety too, he added.